This past week, Pastor Tom gave a great message about the REAL news about Christmas. I have not been watching much TV and was unaware of the whole "fake news" thing going on in out society (seriously?!?) so as I sat and listened to the sermon I was reminded of the real good news vs. the fake news and it bears repeating. To watch the sermon, you can go here, click on watch and print out the message notes.
Whenever I hear the phrase " Good News of Great Joy" I ALWAYS think of sweet Linus and his Christmas speech.
As I was digging through a huge pile of papers yesterday, looking for one thing, I found another and do not think that I shared it with you last year.
whoops. Here is a doodle for you to print out and color in honor of the Good News Download Fearnotprintable
As I mentioned a few days ago, I just released my first set of 5 x 7 cards that are prints of my mixed media artwork. There are four designs that are blank on the inside and each card comes with a white envelope. A set of cards is $12.00 and comes with eight (2 of each design) 5x7 full color matte card stock finish.
When I blogged about the cards here, I invited you to help me be an anonymous blessing to a local family in need right now. For each set of cards purchased now through Christmas Eve, I will add to your order 1 additional card of each design AND on behalf of you and me, $5.00 per set sold will be donated to this family. I set a goal to sell 100 sets of cards (which equals an amazing $500.00 to bless this family) and as of right now, 40 sets have been sold and shipped and I just know that we can reach the goal.
Set of 8 Cards PLUS an additional set for you and a $5.00 donation is only $12.00. Thank you in advance for your help and prayers. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
In the same way that Documented Faith started, I am now introducing you to My Daily Five. When I shared what Documented Faith was a few years back, it was simply an invitation for you to "follow along" with me as I creatively documented my faith. Sometimes it was in the form of an altered playing card with a verse or quote:
often times a doodle in my planner and/or binder:
or a little stitched piece of fabric:
but it was always shared as encouragement and inspiration for you and how you might document your faith in a creative way. The same goes for My Daily Five. The five things I do daily in order to stay in order, aligned, focused and what happens during the times where I fall off the wagon, when my wheels fall off and when I fall apart.
This is just another part of Documented Faith, sorta like a page divider with a tab marked "Daily Five" in my planner or binder and like I mentioned above, just like in the beginning of Documented Faith, I am inviting and encouraging you to to join me. My blah blah blah, two cents and sassy words come to you via email, will be posted here on the blog and shared via IG and FB with the hashtags #documentedfaith365 and #thedailyfive.
I am not the boss of you so I am not going to tell you what to do. You choose what you do, when you do it, how you do it, etc. I am simply going to share with you how and what I am doing in hopes of encouraging you to create some healthy habits for your mental, relational, physical, spiritual and creative life.
Are you ready for some inspiration and encouragement? Let's do this together. IMPORTANT: IF you are already getting my Documented Faith emails, you are all set. If you want to get on the list, all you have to do is click that "Join Our Email List" button below and put in your name and email address.
Additional ways to follow along with Documented Faith and The Daily Five:
Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephanieackerman1/
Follow the Documented Faith Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/documentedfaith/
Join the Documented Faith Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1555537877994436/
Use the hashtags when sharing on social media streams: #documentedfaith #documentedfaith365 #thedailyfive
You know when you "have to do something" but you just don't know exactly what to do, or you know what you want to do but you do not want to embarrass or make someone feel awkward by offering to help?? I have been wracking my brain for the past few days trying to figure out how to help out a family that needs help and not like "Helpful Honda Help" although that would be awesome, and not like a bag full of toys to go under the tree help and more than just " I will be praying for you" help.
Just about an hour ago after I STOPPED thinking and brain wracking and started listening, that familiar "Use What You Have" thought popped in my head.
You use what you have to do something and make a difference.
It is as easy as that.
I have seen it in action and it works.
A simple gesture can absolutely change someones day, week or dare I say, life.?
If you have been following me on IG or FB, I have been sharing that I want to develop that habit of writing and sending out cards and notes to people. I am calling it #handwrittenhellos and in honor of that, I just released my first set of 5 x 7 cards that are prints of my mixed media artwork. There are four designs that are blank on the inside and each card comes with a white envelope. A set of cards is $12.00 and comes with eight (2 of each design) 5x7 full color matte card stock finish.
For every set of cards purchased now through Christmas Eve (which is two weeks from right now in case you do not want to know) I will add to your order, 1 additional card of each design AND on behalf of you and me, donate $5.00 per set sold. I will come back to this post every day or two and update you on how we are doing and how we are going to be a blessing for someone.
I want to say out loud our goal because I believe we can do this. The goal I have for us in the next two weeks is to be able to raise $500.00 (that is 100 sets of cards) and I hope that together we can be an anonymous blessing for a family this Christmas.
The cards sets are listed in my ETSY shop. Thank you in advance for your help and prayers. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, PLEASE email me those to firstname.lastname@example.org
Links are in BOLD above or you can click here
I have shared this story in workshops but I cant remember if I have told you here but the reason for the heart on every piece of art I do (seen and unseen) is because HE (God) gave me the creative skills and abilities (art) which = HEart.
The HEart is a symbol for me of what happens when art and faith collide and why I want to invite you to join me in a new monthly online workshop based on that.
On the first of each month you will receive a link to the classroom that will include:
and guess what?
No special skills necessary and NO PERFECTION ALLOWED. This monthly workshop was created to remind you that you were created to create, encourage you to allow yourself to color outside the lines, to leave the tape measures and rules in the drawer and possibly even introduce you to something new.
My purpose is to encourage and inspire you, remind you of things you might already know (you just forgot to remember) and to teach you some new things. My hope is that along the way, we can also create some good new healthy habits, including eating REAL carrots (not the little whittled down ones) writing & mailing cards to one another (remember Pen Pals?) and to even inspire you to do something in your community, on a national level or even an international level. Each month will look a little different but will include the line up listed above and is meant to remind you to use what you have, create something and to share your love for creating with others.
I am really filled with a different sort of excitement for this. It is not just another "online workshop" because we are going to keep each other accountable as we go through the year, lift each other up, make new friends and encourage each other.
It is not just Bible Journaling. It is not just stitching or mixed media or painting rocks or collecting sticks to hang felts hearts from...it is really much more and I hope that you will join me.
This is a pay-as-you-go workshop. Each month there will be a post here and an email that will go out with a link to register for the following month. Example: you register now for January 2017. On Jan 1st, 2017 (Happy New Year!) you will receive a link that will take you to the classroom where there will everything mentioned above and a basic "use what you have" supply list along with links to the products I am using.
It is that simple. Starting on the 1st of the month, you can go in and out as many times as you want, whenever you want...wherever you are in the world and it is $20.00. I am also excited to tell you that a portion of your $20.00 will be donated to The Grow Hope Foundation each month which means that we are doing something together Internationally! #AWESOME
Okay, to register for January 2017, click the button below and on January 1st, it all begins. In the meantime, don't forget to read this and start the daily 5 so that when the clock strikes midnight on 12/31/16, we can roll right into the New Year.
It takes roughly 30 days to create a habit. Seeing that today is December 1st, 30 days from now puts us right at New Years Eve and typically it is the time when people state their resolutions for the new year.
I have an idea.
Wouldn't it be awesome to kick off the New Year already in gear and focused?
Personally, regardless of whether or not there is a start to a new year, a new month or week, there are 5 things that I do each day and I want to invite you to join me in them. If you start practicing now then when 2017 rings in, you will have already developed the habits and THAT is a great way to start a new year.
Let's go for it!
So the five things....
YOU can totally do that.
The first two: EAT AND SLEEP. You already do these two things so it is no biggie but maybe not as good as you should. I am not suggesting that you make a HUGE change or decision right now. My hope is that you create a habit. Let's take baby steps. Maybe you can drink more water or drink one less soda. Make small consistent changes so that it creates a habit. Let's take one step at a time...together.
The third: MOVE - For me, a must. It is for my mental well being more than anything but think about it this way: If you make a few changes with eating and sleeping, the moving is just an added benefit. Now again, I am not suggesting you go sign up for a marathon or join a gym. Get up, put on your shoes and go for a walk and then tomorrow, do the same...and keep moving....LET'S GET MOVING TOGETHER.
The forth: PRAY - again, for me a must. If I don't start my day with prayer, I am a whirling dervish, a Tasmanian Devil in a pin ball machibe. Pretty much a plain' ol mess. Your day may not start like mine does and that is okay. You can create a prayer time in the shower, in the car, in the early morning, late at night or intermittently through the day. I am not the boss of you, but can I suggest that you set aside time every single day. Try it and see what happens.
and lastly, CREATE, duh.
I am not suggesting that go get supplies to make a your own Pinata, crochet an afghan, paint your bedroom walls and replant your flower beds everyday, but make an effort to do something creative everyday. It will have a positive mental, physical, spiritual and relational benefit..and just think, if we start now and are eating, sleeping, moving, praying AND creating
2017 is going to be a very successful year for you and I.
Let's go for it..together.
Print this Download Startdoing to make notes of what you have swirling in that head of yours...
As you may or may not know, I am a huge advocate of "Use What You Have" when it comes to being creative. This is where again I feel that part of my purpose is to remind you that you can use your supplies (i.e. your tube of red paint, your scraps of fabric, your markers, your paper, etc.) and that it is not necessary to use what I am using to create something. For some that is a very simple concept, but for others, not so much. Again, we are going to start new habits (and maybe break a few bad ones?) so give yourself permission to take one step at a time.
Make sure to come back tomorrow so I can tell you about my new monthly online workshop "When Art & Faith Collide" I am SUPER excited to give you the details and to get started now so that we are ready to roll right into the New Year...together.
Today is what is referred to as Giving Tuesday, It is a day created to focus on GIVING.Personally, between the election season, the black Friday & Cyber Monday hustle and the crazy people camping out on sidewalks to bust through doors trying to get that gigantic TV that is in a box so big that it won't even fit into a cart so you have to carry it through the store to get to the check out stand, hoping that someone does not punch you on the way there only to find that the stupid huge tv wont even fit in your car...I am overstimulated, overwhelmed, feeling frazzled and a bit on the anxious and frantic side. THIS is NOT what LIFE or CHRISTMAS is about so let's talk about GIVING BACK and GROWING HOPE.Each Christmas my best pal Lisa and I collaborate to benefit someone or something, also known as giving back. This year we are working hard to give back to The Grow Hope Foundation and I thought it would be AWESOME for you to get to know the heart behind the foundation. To put a face with the name. This is Kimberly Taylor.Q: What kinds of work are you doing in the Tusubira Village?
A: Currently the team in Uganda runs a number of different projects. Our social worker Sharon works with the women of the community teaching them valuable skills to create an income, as well as tutors the children in our local school. She oversees programs like the tailoring classes where women learn to sew on machines in hopes of doing sewing for an income. We host ongoing workshops to teach sanitation, hygiene and nutrition and people come from all over Uganda to take part. We have an extensive farming program which provides sustainability for our program. We grow numerous crops which are sold to the community and at the local market which brings money back to Tusubira Village to continue the work we do.Q: Tell us about your plans for the education building:
A: The Education Building- we are so excited about finishing it! When completed this building will have space to host things like family planning clinics which is desperately needed in our area. With it’s western bathrooms and kitchen we will have the ability to host teams who come to work within our community, providing education, tools and skills so that our community can rise and see it’s true potential. I’m most excited about bringing a hydrologist who will help us find solutions to our water scarcity problem- which is needed so much after the severe droughts we have seen. I also can’t wait to bring a team of motivated passionate teachers who will spend two weeks working with our local teachers empowering them with skills to better reach and impact the children in our area. The children are the future and we need teachers who can bring real change to this area by encouraging and inspiring our kids!Q: How are these bringing HOPE to this community?
A: Hope. It’s the one thing that changes everything. I think that for many in this community there wasn’t much by way of hope three years ago. They were living the lives they had been born to without knowing that there were things they could do themselves to change that. When our team first met them there wasn’t a lot of hope to be found. But once our team connected with the amazing members of this community, and they earned their trust, this community has transformed! We began with such simple things- sanitation and hygiene. But those two things changed the health of the community and once they were healthy and saw that they had the power to make that happen, the sky was the limit. Women began learning hand skills to make things they could sell. Suddenly there was a possible income source. Some of them learned to grow crops and then found that if they were to grow more than their families needed, they could sell the excess and voila! School fees or home improvements or any number of things that they needed. And once they learned that they weren’t going to be given anything more than the skills needed to make changes, their hope came in the form of self-confidence that they had POWER and they could create a different future.Q: How has your work in Uganda changed you?
A: Wow, I’m not sure if I can even properly define how it has changed me. I think that my perspective on life is 180 degrees from where it was. I know how privileged I am - not only because we have what we do, but because I get to know a community of people half a world away who are the strongest, most determined people - especially the women- that I have ever met. I get to have a team in Uganda who feels the same as I do about empowerment vs. aid and an African brother who seriously has the SAME thoughts as I do on a regular basis. It’s no joke. We literally have the same thoughts at times - we are so totally on the same page. I feel so blessed to have been given this path by the Lord and that he continually leads me exactly where I am meant to be. Now THAT is something you would have never heard me say 3 years ago!Q: What words best describe the foundation and the vision you have for it?
A: I think that even though I named our foundation Grow Hope when I barely knew anything at all about this journey, HOPE continues to be the reason we do what we do. Hope brings out the best in people. Hope gives people a reason to keep moving forward. Hope is what we all need - to know that things can and will get better if we persevere. I also love empowerment because I truly believe that if we want to create sustainable change in any arena, the ONLY way to do that is to empower the people who live in that world to make the changes themselves. It all falls into place once they have the power themselves.Q: How can people get involved in supporting Grow Hope?
A: The best way to get involved is to become a monthly donor. Monthly donors allow us to offer programs at Tusubira Village that empower the people who come to learn because it provides a specific budget that we can work within. It is the reason we have had so much success in growing and expanding our programs. We are so incredibly grateful for our existing monthly donors (whom I consider team members because honestly- they make me feel less on my own in all of this!).People can also make one time donations to help with specific things like completing the Education building. So much potential awaits the completion of that building.People can buy the absolutely AMAZING gift set that you and Lisa have put together to support us! Not only are they a wonderful thing to buy for yourself but they make fantastic gifts!Click Here: Hope Necklace or Hope Bracelet and HOPE print
I want to thank to thank Kimberly for giving us an up close look at The Grow Hope Foundation, I am saying it outloud (and should probably let my family know) that I am committing to going on a mission trip to Uganda with Kimberly and Lisa in the next year.I want to thank Lisa for lovingly pounding each little letter and heart into place on each bracelet. There are BIG prayers being said as these are created and I am super excited to let you know that there is now a coordinating necklace!Starting today and in honor of GIVING TUESDAY, there is free shipping with the code GROWHOPE and you will get 2 HOPE prints with every gift set so they can SPREAD MORE HOPE!I am so excited to be able to be part of this team and with your help, blessed to GIVE back to them. I have to tell you that working on this takes away all of the feelings I described when I started this post and fills my heart with HOPE, true story.
Regardless of circumstances we should live daily with a grateful heart and give thanks in all circumstances...not FOR all circumstances but IN all circumstances. Without our personal trials, we would not be able to develop patience or faithfulness and without the circumstances we have to endure, would we not experience great change and personal growth. Many people dislike the phrase, "Everything happens for a reason" but ya know what, it does and it will and with that said, we know that no matter what, the outcome will be grand. Whew, thank you and amen to that!
Today, I am thankful for my God and for home, family, friends and church, but also for the constant workout to strengthen my relationship with the Lord, a continual push to develop patience, to always remember to seek joy in the midst of pain and sorrow and to continue to move foreword by walking by faith.
Today, I wish for you the same. To seek joy, push through the rough spots and rejoice always...
Happy Thanksgiving friends.
I am finalizing my 2017 travel schedule and while I sure wish that I could get to each one of you, I can't. Between the rising costs of travel and the unfortunate sad truth of more stores closing, it has become a little bit of an arm wrestle. Not only do I want to teach, encourage and inspire you, I want to sit and create with you. I feel like my workshops are going to be a little different. While I want to teach you new techniques and inspire you to look at products a little differently than their intended use, I also want to take time to share. I feel it is important for our community of creatives to come together to create, laugh, cry, snack and share. It is called FELLOWSHIP and it is a key part of our lives. I don't just want to be the teacher, I want to sit, chit chat, drink coffee in the morning, iced tea with extra ice in the day AND evening, share, inspire and create. I think I already said that but it is worth repeating. WE need our community, we need fellowship and we need to gather together, so let's get together. My 2017 workshops are going to be a little of this, that and the other, Together we will play with lots of color by "doodling" with a paintbrush, a needle and of course, with pens. We will experiment with paints, canvas, paper, embroidery floss, watercolors and felt and we will use some of what we have to create new things. We will create faith based art in art journals, on wood, paper and rubber and share it with others to inspire and encourage. My plan is to not only teach you, but encourage, inspire and remind you of not only how to create, but how and where to share.
Stay tuned for the release of the 2017 dates in just a few days! I can't wait to create with you.